Serving the Worldwide Body of Christ through:
- Facilitation of Leadership Encounters, extended times in the presence of God, lasting from one to three days.
- Conference speaking on Building Unity and Collaboration in Your City, Listening Prayer, and Discerning and Dealing with Spiritual Warfare.
- Coaching leadership teams in cities where leaders are intentional building authentic relationships, praying together regularly, and collaborating to release sustained, measurable kingdom impact on the city.
So, it’s been quite a ride in my world since mid-summer. At the invitation of Ian Shelton, longtime friend and colleague from Toowoomba, I cast vision for growing transformational movements in 12 cities in Australia, Aug 18-Sept 9. The surprise? Stepping into an early morning fellowship of some 40 men and women in Hobart, Tazmania, alive with God’s presence. My message brought confirmation and clarity to their journey together with the “city church.” Most encouraging? Sharing with a group of leaders in Canberra called the “shakers” a challenge to pray weekly for kingdom advance in their city. The Anglican Bishop was first to respond, “When do we start? I’m all IN!” The most fun? Speaking at the first-ever Mayor’s Banquet in Toowoomba on the topic, “People of faith partnering with people of good will, for the good of the city.” So, here’s a shot of me presenting to leaders in Canberra:
Last week was “full on” in new York City, facilitating the fifth annual City Advance leaders learning community with colleagues Glenn Barth (GoodCities) and George Ordway (Communities, Inc). With 70 delegates from around 20 city movements, we focused on three core principles: 1) Cross sector collaboration, 2) Building a sustainable culture of honor, and 3) People of faith partnering with people of good will. Our most fun exercise: the four different cultures of pastors, para-church, marketplace and prayer mobilizers interacting honestly, asking of one another, what do you most appreciate about _________? What frustrates you most about _________? What counsel would you share with ___________? The room was rather, shall we say, “alive!”
City Advance has already gone regional: our aim is to make this learning experience affordable, accessible and contextual. We gather in Portland, OR Dec 1 & 2 at the Luis Palau Association (PNW-City Impact Roundtable), and Feb 11-13 in Fresno, for the first-ever all California Regional City Advance. If interested in either, email me for details.
Recently, my wife Terri and me watched the video series, “Living in Christ’s Presence,” with Dallas Willard and John Ortberg, filmed several months before Dallas passed. Here’s a quotation that ignited a fresh vision for city movements:
“When serious followers of Jesus in any particular city become more consciously aware of one another,
and intentional about connecting and learning from one another what they are learning
from Jesus…you have the makings of authentic spiritual awakening.”
Friends, that’s what I hunger for in my own city. That what I long to see happen in any city where I’m engaged. A healthy, citywide Body of Christ advancing God’s kingdom on their knees, humbled at the foot of the Cross.
Unmistakeably, the Holy Spirit is stirring the hearts of God’s people worldwide–across theological, racial and generational barriers–to worship, walk and work together, and display a “witness of oneness” (John 17:21-23) to cultures that are broken and fragmented.
In early May, I had the joy of speaking in London at “Gather,” an annual consultation of city movement practitioners from around the UK. There are now over 100 cities of diverse size where the Body of Christ is coming together to intentionally serve and bless their local community. I was inspired listening to Lloyd. He shared that in 2001, the London Times designated Stoke-on-Trent as one of the the worst places to live in England. The collective Church made this observation: “it’s not the quantify of darkness that matters here, but rather the quality of the light.” In twelve years, the quality of life in Stoke-on-Trent has changed in dramatic, measurable ways.
I brought encouragement to my fellow fanatical city-reachers by sharing stories from healthy citywide movements in North America, India and Eastern Europe. Last June, in Bangalore, INDIA, I was involved in launching the Global Cities Leadership Community (GCLC), a mix of practitioners and educators committed to this mission: Helping catalyze, celebrate and accelerate sustainable city gospel movements worldwide. Under the leadership of Dr. Mac Pier (New York City Leadership Center, and Director of Movement Day (www.movementday.com), I serve as the coordinator of this global community, which we are now expanding. We are praying and planning towards a “Global Cities Movement Day” in the Fall of 2016. This is on track with my passion and call to catalyze sustainable, fruit-bearing John 17 communities worldwide. This is under the banner of the “Lausanne Movement,” well renowned for this vision: “The whole church taking the whole gospel to the whole city.” Mac is the Lausanne Senior Leader working specifically with city movements.
On the Horizon ~~ Ministry in Australia, Aug 18-Sept 8
Ian Shelton, pastor in Toowoomba, Australia, has faithfully promoted unity and collaboration in Christ’s Body since the mid 1970’s. A longstanding friend and colleague, Ian has opened a door for me to introduce my book and speak in ten cities around the nation (The Practitioner’s Guide: Building City Gospel Movements). I’m eager to get on-site “down under,” release the vision and wisdom the Lord has imparted to me, and also to observe, listen, learn and receive from what the Spirit is doing in this great nation. As a very secular, productive and fun-loving nation, Australia desperately needs spiritual awakening. In London, I was privileged to envision and pray into this visit with Ian and Pastor Rick Prosser.
Terri and I would greatly appreciate your agreement with us in prayer, asking and believing the Spirit to bring Jesus’ Body into increased health and collaboration in the cities of Australia. If you wish to keep more current with my itinerary, sign up to receive the CONNECTION, Frontline’s monthly e-bulletin. Email email@example.com, with “CONNECTION” in the subject line.
Thanks for your interest, intercession and investment in our calling.
As we press into 2014, the city gospel movement worldwide is strong “on the radar!” What was once inspired vision, is now reality in numerous communities of Jesus followers. Increasingly, it’s my joy to connect and consult meaningfully with innovative leaders of such movements, such as Sacramento in mid-January, pictured below:
But while this is a global phenomenon, the movement must become real locally. In my home state of Oregon, we just had the 24th annual Leaders Prayer Summits for both Lane County (Eugene & Springfield), and “Church of the Valley” (Corvallis area). We continue to simply watch for what the Spirit of God is touching, and join him. This past December, our “COV~Corvallis” team came away with fresh vision from our Pacific NW City Impact Roundtable in Portland (12th annual gathering of cities from Oregon, Washington and Idaho).
Here are a few of Terri’s and my friends at the December Roundtable, longtime colleagues in our community co-laboring to see the big kingdom picture globally, obey the word of the Lord, and apply his will locally.
I’m getting great response to my recent book, The Practitioner’s Guide: Building City Gospel Movements, a helpful, practical “toolkit” for city or regional movement leadership teams, featured in my December blog. You can order copies direct from me: 1 for $15, 2 for $28 and $12 each for orders over 5, shipped. Simply send me your order via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), give me your shipping address, pay through the paypal link, or I can invoice you.
So, city-reaching friend…keep thinking globally, and apply what you learn locally.
Abilene, West Texas, a city gospel movement on a growing edge. Working with kingdom leaders in Abilene has been fruitful…and fun! Stan, the man in the middle, is the Chief of Police, serves on the citywide “1 Kingdom” leadership team, and has been at all four Summits I’ve led the past two years. Norm, the Mayor, joined us last month for an evening of worship and intercession. This is real-deal kingdom community in the making: men, women, evangelicals, charismatics African-Americans, Hispanics, non- profits and marketplace movers and shakers advancing God’s kingdom. And with key leaders sitting in from Tucson, Lubbock and Waco, this is a movement with potential to multiply its influence.
This is one of the many stories I share in my new book, The Practitioner’s Guide: Building City Gospel Movements. I encourage you to pick one up, give it a read, then pass it on to a local pastor, business leader or intercessor keen on John 17 unity and collaboration. This is my core life message, bringing a balance of inspiration through story, and practical wisdom.
A couple of relevant chapters: “”City Church: Biblical? Achieveable?” and “Expanding Collaborative Partnerships in Your City.”
PRICE: $16 shipped, $30 for two. Send your order and mailing address to email@example.com, and pay via the DONATE paypal button, or I’ll invoice you.
12th Annual Pacific NW City Impact Roundtable
Last week 135 leaders from around 20 city movements in Oregon, Washington and Idaho gathered at the Luis Palau Association in Beaverton, OR. This was one of our best yet in 12 years. Rick McKinley, pastor of Imago Dei in Portland brought some very convicting and impactful messages, mostly on the kind of Christlike character required for building a citywide movement. Portland continues to steward a model that mobilizes saints to both serve their communities (church/school partnerships, foster care, sex trafficking) and share the gospel.
Members of our Corvallis team engaged in a lot of meaningful dialogue, coming away with some fresh action steps to engage more folksin our congregations serving and reaching our community. We shared our story: having built a culture of praying for and sharing the gospel with unbelievers, we’re seeing the Spirit stir the hearts of foreign students at Oregon State University to search out the truths of the Bible, and seek to know who Jesus is.
A closing observation. At this years’s “PNW-CIR,” I was encouraged to watch teams of leaders from cities (Seattle, Portland, Spokane, Eugene, Sacramento, Longview- Kelso) process the Word of the Lord through Pastor Rick and the city stories, and ask, “What next step can we take to further grow John 17 unity and impact in our city?” From our meager beginnings 12 years ago with 20-25 faithful pioneers from a few cities in Oregon, Washington and Idaho, this is now a movement of God that is growing, maturing and bearing lasting fruit for His glory.
Thanks for your interest, intercession and investment. As we come up on the end of another year, please consider a gift to Frontline (you may give thru the DONATE button to the right).
UPCOMING SCHEDULE ~~~
Jan 10, Facilitate Internet Meeting, Global Urban Leadership Learning Community
Jan 23, City Leadership Consultation, Sacramento, CA
Jan 27-29 Leaders Prayer Summit, Eugene-Springfield, OR
Feb 3-6 Leaders Prayer Summit, “Church of the Valley,” OR
Feb 9 “Adoration” (citywide worship), Corvallis, OR (hosted by Calvary Corvallis, 6 PM)
Now available, The Practitioner’s Guide: Building City Gospel Movements. I feel I have captured my core life message in this book. For several years, my main, plain aim has been to help catalytic, visionary leaders grow their Psalm 133/John 17 movement to the next level of kingdom impact and fruitfulness. Here’s a “praise from Ceasar” endorsement from colleague Jim Herrington, Mission Houston:
“Tom White is the most seasoned, mature city movement leader that I know.
He thinks conceptually at a very high level, but his thinking is informed by his
‘boots-on-the-ground’ life experience that gives his writing profound clarity.”
I’m a theologian/practitioner. I take time to develop a much-needed biblical theology of “city transformation,” but then unpack the practical, working components of a healthy, fruit-bearing John 17 kingdom community. Chapter 3 hits a core question head-on: “The City Church: Biblical? Achieveable?”
So, I can send you a copy shipped for $16 (email, text or call). You can easily pay for it using the paypal at this site. Give it a read, then pass it on to another local leader of influence keen on building John 17 unity in your city. And if you don’t yet have the 2011 revised version of my classic work, The Believer’s Guide to Spiritual Warfare (Regal), I can do that one for $14 (a biblical, practical word on a complex topic).
I’m wearing “four hats” these days:
- Coach/consultant for city and regional movements of unity, prayer and collaboration
- Serving on the Leadership Cabinet for “Movement Day” (annual gathering of city practitioners in New York)
- Designer and facilitator of the “City Advance,” a two day leadership learning community that precedes Movement Day
- Co-Coodinator of the Global Urban Leadership Learning Community (GULLC), urban theologians and practitioners who meet on the internet. We’re tracking towards a face-to-face in London in May, 2014, and a Global Congress in New York in 2016.
And here are “four words” that describe what I aim to impart to leaders of gospel city movements:
- “cohesion” Relational friendship described by Jesus in John 17, and Paul in Phil 2 and Eph 4
- “infusion” of supernatural power through the regular practice of citywide corporate spiritual disciplines of worship, prayer and service. I believe a healthy city movement will engage in a rhythm of corporate spirituality
- “theological vision” Leaders discerning and learning how to apply the timeless principles of the Word of God to a particular people engaged in a specific cultural milieu
- “implementation” of collaborative strategies for sharing the good news and good deeds of the gospel, with the aim of winning and discipling increased numbers of souls in your city
Here’s an “on-the-job” shot, bringing the keynote at the City Advance in New York, October 8:
The mission statement of the City Advance:
to connect, equip and coach leaders of collaborative city movements to more effectively steward transformational change that results in measurable increase of God’s reign in cities.
Check out my “Ministry Offerings.” As the Lord wills and leads, I’d love to come to your city for a “Leadership Encounter,” or to cast vision for igniting and growing a gospel movement.
“The whole church taking the whole gospel to the whole world.” So, here I was, a week ago, participating in a leadership forum focused on collaborative efforts to bring the gospel to the remaining unengaged and unreached people groups of our broken world.
High level consultations like this come and go. I’ve been a part of many of them. They inspire, stimulate and challenge. And then they are over. But when intentional, collaborative partnerships come together in a context like this, there can be strategic traction and action. The Lausanne Movement was ignited by Billy Graham and John Stott in 1974. I participated in Manila in 1989, and Pattaya, Thailand in 2004. I was invited to Bangalore because of my expertise with city movements. Our working group got traction! We birthed a global leadership learning community of theologians and practitioners working hands-on in urban environments.
In the months and years ahead, I will help to facilitate the networking and mutual learning of John 17 communities emerging in cities around the world, with a bottom line aim: to more effectively bring the gospel to yet unengaged and unreached peoples.
Mac Pier, CEO of The New York Leadership Center and Chair of “Movement Day,” took point with our working group. Over two working lunches, the Holy Spirit stirred vision and called us to action (Mac is to the left, white shirt):
So what’s next in my world with this agenda? I’ll be on-site August 7-9 at the Global Leadership Summit, hosted by Willow Creek Church. On Wednesday, I’ll have opportunity to connect with leaders from some of the global cities that host this annual simulcast. Then, October 8 & 9, with associates Glenn Barth (Good Cities) and George Ordway (Communities, INC), we lead the annual “City Advance” in New York and participate in “Movement Day” on Thursday, October 10. If anyone reading this has any interest in being a part of these back-to-back gatherings of veteran practitioners, let me know.
“The whole church, taking the whole gospel to the whole city.” What better endeavor could one hope to be a part of?
So, how are you handling the dizzying pace of today’s culture change? While I find it mostly distracting and draining, I’m glad to report that the advance of God’s eternal kingdom is also accelerating. Increasingly, we are seeing concrete answers to Jesus’ John 17 prayer for relational oneness among his followers: covenant kingdom communities, the Body of Christ getting healthier, and working together more effectively in cities and regions.
I believe we’re well into the “early majority” phase of the city transformation paradigm. In any authentic movement, there are early pioneers, innovators, early adopters. Well, now we’re seeing numerous evangelical congregations, organizations and denominations jumping into the city movement mix. I’m just back from a consultation hosted by the Willow Creek Association in Chicago, a blend of veteran city practitioners and leaders of national organizations. Here’s a typical working session:
So, who’s at this table? Mac Pier, Director of the New York City Leadership Center and prime mover of “Movement Day,” Jim Herrington, point man of “Mission Houston,” Cindy Kirk, representing the Luis Palau Association, and Gary Schmitz, executive team member of an emerging kingdom coalition in greater Kansas City. And here’s the main, plain topic: how do we better engage in collaborative, cross-sector partnering to more effectively reach our cities with the gospel?
FRESH OFFERINGS: WHAT FRONTLINE IS UP TO THESE DAYS
So, check out http://www.movementday.com. I believe this is the innovative edge of the city movement paradigm today, this year happening Thursday, October 10. And I also formally invite you to “city Advance,” a highly interactive leadership learning community I and other colleagues facilitate on the Tuesday-Wednesday prior to Movement Day. Check it out. Consider bringing a team from your city or region.
I’ve also just wrapped up the manuscript for a new book, current working title: The Practitioners Guide to Building City Gospel Movements. Hoping for a Winter or early Spring 2014 release. After a straight up Chapter, The “City Church:” Biblical? Achievable? we engage an in-the-trenches look at how to grow John 17 covenantal communities in your world.
I’m convinced also that we are beginning to see modern day biblical Antiochs emerge, places of learning, training, sending…from which kingdom servants will go, and to which men and women will come. And, like the works of the Spirit in the book of Acts, I see city movements today on the cutting-edge of kingdom expanse, partnering to touch both the unengaged and unreached peoples of our planet. June 17-21, I participate in a consultation of international leaders hosted by the Lausanne Movement addressing this very topic.
So, before you move on, take an extra minute and take a fresh look at “Ministry Offerings.” I’d be honored to drop into your community any time and help your movement grow to the next level.